Dallas Cowboys

Things couldn’t have gone better for Zeke Elliott in opener, ready for a bigger load

Ezekiel Elliott talks new contract with Dallas Cowboys

Ezekiel Elliott is a holdout no more as he and the Dallas Cowboys agreed to a six-year, $90 million contract, including a whopping $50M in guaranteed money to make him the richest running back in NFL history.
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Ezekiel Elliott is a holdout no more as he and the Dallas Cowboys agreed to a six-year, $90 million contract, including a whopping $50M in guaranteed money to make him the richest running back in NFL history.

Things couldn’t have gone better for the Dallas Cowboys and running back Ezekiel Elliott in the 35-17 season-opening win against the New York Giants.

Elliott had only three practices before the game after missing all of training camp and the preseason in a contract holdout before signing a six-year, $90 million deal on Wednesday.

That meant he returned from roughly 40 days in Cabo Tuesday night, stayed up until 2 a.m. working on the deal, before being awakened at 4 a.m. that the deal was done and then heading to a 7:30 a.m. meeting.

Elliott didn’t have his usual workload by design as the Cowboys wanted to be careful with him because he had not played football or been tackled since last season.

He played 37 snaps and rushed 13 times for 53 yards and a touchdown. The blowout win meant they didn’t have to alter the plan.

“I feel about the same. Obviously, I was a little rusty,” Elliott said afterward. “I didn’t play the best game and I’ve got a lot of things I can improve on. But that’s just going to come with time and getting more reps and being out there longer.”

Clearly, Elliott got some work in while holding out in Cabo. He proved to be in good shape and in good condition.

Coach Jason Garrett said anyone else likely couldn’t have played as much as Elliott did due to the time away. But his conditioning as well as his smarts proved to be the difference, Garrett said.

“It looked like he ran the way Zeke runs,” Garrett said. “I know over time when he practices a little bit more and gets a little more game experience, he’ll get more comfortable. But he’s a really good football player and it’s good to have him back.”

Elliott split time in the regular offense with rookie Tony Pollard. Fullback Jamize Olawale spelled him as the third-down back.

With the score at 35-10 after three quarters, the Cowboys sat Elliott in the fourth quarter.

Elliott should have a normal schedule and likely a normal workload this Sunday against the Washington Redskins.

He is certainly looking forward to it.

“I think I’m in football shape, but they just wanted to be a little precautionary there and not push it too much and just be safe,” he said. “It’s a long season. We’ve got a lot of football to play.

“I’m a little sore,” he added, “but I’m looking forward to next week, getting a bigger load.”

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